Innovation Policies for the Inclusion of Regions

Several countries have implemented innovation policy programmes to promote innovation in lagging regions. This page presents a range of relevant examples. 

Please click on the images to find the full policy cases. 

National Action Plan for Scientific Literacy – China


Objective: To increase general scientific literacy in the country, with the objective of providing every adult citizen with basic scientific literacy by 2050.

Target: All citizens, with the focus on disadvantaged populations from underdeveloped regions.

Instrument: Investment in compulsory public education, in education infrastructure and in the organisation of popular science activities.

Special Economic Zones – Mexico


Objective: Foster economic development in three lagging regions in the south of Mexico, so as to address the gap between north and south.

Target: Peripheral regions (three lagging regions in southern Mexico).

Instrument: Establishment of three special economic zones in which firms investing and creating jobs would obtain several benefits.

Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research – United States


Objective: Assist jurisdictions that have historically received little federal R&D funding in developing and strengthening their research capabilities.

Target: Jurisdictions.

Instrument: Federal awards co-financed by individual jurisdictions (states or territories).

Spark Programme – China


Objective: Enhance the innovation performance of the rural economy through science and technology and popularise science and technology in rural areas.

Target: Rural areas.

Instrument: Technology and management training and support to projects that use S&T and know-how from research institutes to solve local technology programmes.

Prototypes of Social Innovation programme – Chile


Objective: Develop proofs of concept and prototypes of innovative solutions to meet social/regional challenges through open innovation.

Target: Regions and communities facing specific social challenges.

Instrument: Grants to develop proofs of concept and prototypes of new solutions to meet major regional challenges.

Royalties for Science, Technology and Innovation programme – Colombia


Objective: Increasing the scientific, technological, innovation and competitiveness capacities of regions.

Target: Regions with weak innovation performance.

Instrument: Fund to support regional STI activities that contribute to the production, use and absorption of knowledge by industry and society.

Envoy System – China


Objective: Allow for more innovation among rural populations by dispatching S&T specialists to the countryside and promoting innovative entrepreneurship in the rural areas.

Target: Farmers in rural areas.

Instrument: Qualified S&T specialists provide farmers with S&T services, including demonstrations of new technologies, training and personalised consulting.

Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development – India

Initially launched in 1985 and reformulated in 1996-97–present

Objective: The programme aims to promote the development of lagging areas by supporting micro-enterprises.

Target: Micro-entrepreneurs in lagging regions.

Instrument: Financial support is provided to selected implementing agencies for 4 years.